The Romantic Guide to Handfasting; Rituals, Recipe and Lore by Anna Franklin is a truly beautiful book which emphasizes the romanticism and beauty that can be found in handfasting rituals and ceremonies. Franklin wrote this book in a way which anyone can use be they an experienced or beginner pagan, as well as anyone with a large or small group.
The Romantic Guide to Handfasting is organized in a way which makes sense, beginning with the history of handfasting and ending with a chapter on handparting, which I found very nice to see. For this reason, though you can jump around from chapter to chapter, your first read should follow the chapter order. There are 12 chapters as well as five appendices and an index. Something else I found nice to see was references for certain bits of information given.
Franklin began the book with chapter one which gives the reader a brief look into the history of early European handfasting traditions. Chapters two through eight are really the meat of the book and really get into the handfasting ritual itself with chapters on how to organize your handfasting, what to wear, Gods and Goddesses you can invoke should you choose to, various customs and themes as well as a chapter dedicated to choosing the right day for your blessed event. Chapter three includes a ritual itself, which is fairly generic which allows the reader to alter it to his/her content, so that it fits their personal belief system.
Chapters nine, ten and eleven are a little more hands on and include ideas, suggestions and recipes for herbal work, recipes for your handfasting feast as well as spells and lucky charms. Chapter 10 includes recipes for mead, beer and other drinks you can make to include in your feast. Most of the spells and charms in chapter 11 are for luck such as a lucky horseshoe charm, a lucky best man charm and a wedding wreath.
The following chapter is about handparting, a ritual to undo the handfasting. This chapter is very short and includes a simple, plain ritual anyone can altar to fit their belief system if the time comes for the handfasted couple to part ways. Having a ritual such as this really can aid in giving the couple a clean, healthy break. The main section of the book is ended and then we have five appendices which include one with poems, one about anniversaries, one about certificates, one for invitations and then a final one which includes useful addresses for pagan groups. The book then ends with an index.
This truly is a lovely book which anyone can benefit from if they are interested in handfastings in general, if they are pagan clergy who offer handfasting officiation or if you are simply wanting to plan your own beautiful handfasting ceremony. Franklin really created a book that anyone can use, regardless of their experience with paganism. Truly anyone in any religion or spiritual belief system can benefit from this book as it's full of cultural and historical information. This information can be taken in bits and pieces and included in any kind of handfasting/marriage/commitment ceremony. I highly, highly recommend this book.
~Reviewed by: Jessica Elizabeth
Author: Anna Franklin
Llewellyn Worldwide; 2015